Trump’s visit is latest in a 60-year tradition


By Josh Ellerbrock - jellerbrock@limanews.com



President Donald Trump speaks about border security in the Oval Office of the White House, Friday, March 15, 2019, in Washington. Trump issued the first veto of his presidency, overruling Congress to protect his emergency declaration for border wall funding. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

President Donald Trump speaks about border security in the Oval Office of the White House, Friday, March 15, 2019, in Washington. Trump issued the first veto of his presidency, overruling Congress to protect his emergency declaration for border wall funding. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)


2016, July 29: Neither Donald Trump nor Hilary Clinton made it to the region during the 2016 presidential election, but Vice President Mike Pence did find time to speak at a packed UNOH Event Center in the summer of 2016.

2012, Nov. 2: In the final week of the 2012 election, President Barack Obama visited Lima, holding a rally at Lima Senior High School that drew a crowd of 3,800.

2012, Oct. 28: Obama’s Republican contender in 2012, Mitt Romney, didn’t make it to Allen County, but he did visit Mercer County via the Celina Fieldhouse and spoke to a crowd of roughly 2,000 together with running mate Paul Ryan.

2008: While Bill Clinton never came to the region as a sitting president, he did visit Lima Senior High School in February 2008 as he campaigned for his wife, Hilary Clinton, when she battled Barack Obama in the Democratic primaries.

In the same year in August, presidential candidate John McCain brought the Straight Talk Express to Veterans Memorial Civic Center, and a month later, Obama also came to town, worshiping at St. Luke Lutheran Church and attracting hundreds by the time the service had ended. Then vice presidential-candidate Joe Biden also made a trip to Kewpee that year.

2003, April 24: President George W. Bush visits JSMC.

2000, Oct. 12: Vice presidential candidate Dick Cheney speaks to several hundred people at Memorial Hall.

1996, Oct. 11: Presidential candidate Bob Dole speaks to roughly 3,000 people at Veterans Memorial Civic Center.

1992, Oct. 9: President George Bush speaks at a rally at the Allen County Airport. Also that year, Vice President Dan Quayle speaks at the Republican Party dinner.

1986, Oct. 16: Vice President George Bush speaks at the Allen County Airport. He also spoke at a Republican barbecue and rally that year.

1984, Oct. 13: President Ronald Reagan stops briefly in both Lima and Ottawa.

1980, Oct. 16: Presidential candidate Ronald Reagan speaks to thousands in Lima’s Town Square.

1976, June 7: President Gerald Ford gives a 15-minute speech outside the Lima Mall.

1968, Oct. 22: Presidential candidate Richard Nixon stops in Lima as the final stage of a whistle-stop tour.

1964, Oct. 1: Presidential candidate Barry Goldwater speaks to about 20,000 people in Lima’s Public Square.

1960, Oct. 26: Presidential candidate Richard Nixon spoke to nearly 50,000 people in Lima’s Public Square.

1952, Oct. 8: Vice President Richard Nixon stopped in Lima to stump for President Dwight D. Eisenhower.

LIMA — With a visit from President Donald Trump scheduled for Wednesday, Trump’s tour of the Joint Systems Manufacturing Center is the latest presidential visit in a long series, with only two sitting presidents — Clinton and Carter — opting out of a visit since Eisenhower’s stop in 1952.

Such frequency raises the question: What draws presidential and presidential candidates to the region?

At least part of the answer is Allen County’s political significance.

Dr. Bill Angel, emeritus associate professor of political science at The Ohio State University-Lima, said the region has such strong political importance in the national arena due to its unique demographics and how the interplay of the region’s cultural beliefs have influenced presidential campaigns within the last few decades.

As Angel said: “I think it’s because it’s a pretty conservative region, but it has enough Democratic voters to matter.”

Due to the influence of local unions, a large African-American population and a growing group of Latinos, conventional political wisdom should mean a stronger liberal tint in both Lima and Allen County, Angel said. But if the 2016 presidential election has shown, many of the region’s voters have shifted further to the right due to conservative beliefs toward social issues.

With those issues currently in play affecting much of the national conversation, the region has become something of a testing ground to see if those voters who are normally demographically liberal can be secured to continue to vote Republican, Angel said. It gives presidential candidates, especially Republican candidates, enough of a reason to try their hands to see if they can shift and secure minds with a more personal appeal.

Angel said the JSMC is a good way to make such an appeal. Due to its bipartisan support, Trump’s tour can highlight increased defense spending while making the case to union workers, who typically vote Democrat.

As for Trump, maintaining voter support from the region’s unique population is quintessential to the upcoming 2020 campaign. Anne Whitesell, Ohio Northern University Associate Professor of political science, estimated Trump will work to solidify support by talking about issues surrounding jobs, manufacturing, agriculture and the opioid epidemic.

In comparison, Democratic presidential candidates tend to seek larger media markets in Ohio, Whitesell said, in order to motivate metropolitan voters, who typically lean left.

“It comes down to generally urban versus rural and which area will outweigh the others,” Whitesell said.

“Every president and every campaign knows the importance of Allen County on the I-75 corridor,” Allen County Republican Chairman Keith Cheney said. “We have always had close relationships with presidential campaigns. When it comes to the relationship you build over the years, sometimes that’s why (visits) happen.”

President Donald Trump speaks about border security in the Oval Office of the White House, Friday, March 15, 2019, in Washington. Trump issued the first veto of his presidency, overruling Congress to protect his emergency declaration for border wall funding. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
https://www.limaohio.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/54/2019/03/web1_AP19074726061245.jpgPresident Donald Trump speaks about border security in the Oval Office of the White House, Friday, March 15, 2019, in Washington. Trump issued the first veto of his presidency, overruling Congress to protect his emergency declaration for border wall funding. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

By Josh Ellerbrock

jellerbrock@limanews.com

2016, July 29: Neither Donald Trump nor Hilary Clinton made it to the region during the 2016 presidential election, but Vice President Mike Pence did find time to speak at a packed UNOH Event Center in the summer of 2016.

2012, Nov. 2: In the final week of the 2012 election, President Barack Obama visited Lima, holding a rally at Lima Senior High School that drew a crowd of 3,800.

2012, Oct. 28: Obama’s Republican contender in 2012, Mitt Romney, didn’t make it to Allen County, but he did visit Mercer County via the Celina Fieldhouse and spoke to a crowd of roughly 2,000 together with running mate Paul Ryan.

2008: While Bill Clinton never came to the region as a sitting president, he did visit Lima Senior High School in February 2008 as he campaigned for his wife, Hilary Clinton, when she battled Barack Obama in the Democratic primaries.

In the same year in August, presidential candidate John McCain brought the Straight Talk Express to Veterans Memorial Civic Center, and a month later, Obama also came to town, worshiping at St. Luke Lutheran Church and attracting hundreds by the time the service had ended. Then vice presidential-candidate Joe Biden also made a trip to Kewpee that year.

2003, April 24: President George W. Bush visits JSMC.

2000, Oct. 12: Vice presidential candidate Dick Cheney speaks to several hundred people at Memorial Hall.

1996, Oct. 11: Presidential candidate Bob Dole speaks to roughly 3,000 people at Veterans Memorial Civic Center.

1992, Oct. 9: President George Bush speaks at a rally at the Allen County Airport. Also that year, Vice President Dan Quayle speaks at the Republican Party dinner.

1986, Oct. 16: Vice President George Bush speaks at the Allen County Airport. He also spoke at a Republican barbecue and rally that year.

1984, Oct. 13: President Ronald Reagan stops briefly in both Lima and Ottawa.

1980, Oct. 16: Presidential candidate Ronald Reagan speaks to thousands in Lima’s Town Square.

1976, June 7: President Gerald Ford gives a 15-minute speech outside the Lima Mall.

1968, Oct. 22: Presidential candidate Richard Nixon stops in Lima as the final stage of a whistle-stop tour.

1964, Oct. 1: Presidential candidate Barry Goldwater speaks to about 20,000 people in Lima’s Public Square.

1960, Oct. 26: Presidential candidate Richard Nixon spoke to nearly 50,000 people in Lima’s Public Square.

1952, Oct. 8: Vice President Richard Nixon stopped in Lima to stump for President Dwight D. Eisenhower.

Reach Josh Ellerbrock at 567-242-0398.

Reach Josh Ellerbrock at 567-242-0398.

Post navigation